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Sunset Park Hotel Will Be Converted Into Homeless Shelter, City Says

By Leslie Albrecht | November 2, 2015 10:34pm
 Sleep Inn hotels are operated by individual franchisees.
Sleep Inn hotels are operated by individual franchisees.
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Sleep Inn/Facebook

SUNSET PARK — A Sleep Inn hotel on 49th Street will be converted into a shelter for up to 150 homeless men by mid-November, the Department of Homeless Services said Monday.

DHS will transform the hotel at 247 49th St., between Second and Third avenues into a shelter for men who either have jobs or are looking for work, according to City Councilman Carlos Menchaca. The shelter will be operated by the nonprofit Samaritan Village, Menchaca said in a Facebook post.

DHS had been renting rooms for 100 homeless men at the hotel but recently decided to convert the entire building into a shelter with 24-hour security and social services, Menchaca said.

Locals say they're "upset" by the new shelter because neighbors were given no warning about its arrival, Brownstoner reported.

DHS spokeswoman Nicole Cueto said the agency met with local elected officials and community board members to address concerns and that the agency will set up a community advisory board in the coming weeks to maintain communication between DHS and locals.

DHS is working closely with the 72nd Precinct to address potential security problems, Cueto said. No sex offenders will be allowed at the site, she said.

Shelter residents will be provided with services including job training, education and financial literacy. Samaritan Village also offers mental health and substance abuse services. Shelter residents will be taken to appointments outside the shelter in a vehicle that belongs to the facility, Cueto said.

One outraged local wrote in a message to neighbors that "no other neighborhood has this."

However, a DNAinfo analysis of DHS data showed that Community Board 7 has only two shelters, a relatively low number compared with community districts elsewhere in the city.

The move comes as New York is battling record levels of homelessness. The de Blasio administration has vowed to fight the problem with $1 billion over the next four years.

"The de Blasio administration has aggressively worked to both prevent and reduce homelessness, supporting over 60,000 individuals with homelessness prevention services and helping over 38,000 individuals exit shelter to permanent housing in the past year," Cueto said in a statement.

She added, "We're expanding this Brooklyn facility to house 50 more homeless men. The facility will have both job training and clinical services to support the shelter residents, and we will have 24-hour security inside and outside the building, making rounds every 30 minutes to ensure safety of shelter residents and the surrounding community."

Sunset Park has become a hub for low-cost hotels in recent years, and five have opened on a three-block stretch of 39th Street in the past three years, the Brooklyn Paper reported.

The Sleep Inn that's being converted into the shelter has gotten good reviews from guests, earning 3.5 out of five stars on the travel website Trip Advisor.